Crew and cargo returning from the International Space Station need to be protected from the heat that is generated during the capsule’s descent. This materials science and engineering lesson plan begins by students exploring the properties of different heat shield construction materials. Then, they run trials with samples to collect heat resistance data. Finally, they feed their data into a model to simulate how well their capsule is protected during its descent.

This activity is suitable for students ages 10-14 years.

Interested in getting started? Go to Using materials science engineering to determine heat resistance for lesson materials.

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